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The Dhammapada (Pāli; Prakrit: Dhamapada; Sanskrit Dharmapada) is a versified Buddhist scripture traditionally ascribed to the Buddha himself. It is one of the best-known texts from the Theravada canon.

The title, Dhammapada, is a compound term composed of dhamma and pada, each word having a number of denotations and connotations. Generally, dhamma can refer to the Buddha's "doctrine" or an "eternal truth" or "righteousness" or all "phenomena"; and, at its root, pada means "foot" and thus by extension, especially in this context, means either "path" or "verse" (cf. "foot ") or both. English translations of this text's title have used various combinations of these and related words.

History

According to tradition, the Dhammapada's verses were spoken by the Buddha on various occasions. Most verses deal with ethics. The text is part of the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka, although over half of the verses exist in other parts of the Pali Canon. A 4th or 5th century CE commentary attributed to Buddhaghosa includes 305 stories which give context to the verses.

Although the Pāli edition is the best-known, a number of other versions are known:



Comparing the Pali Dhammapada, the Gandhari Dharmapada and the Udanavarga, Brough (2001) identifies that the texts have in common 330 to 340 verses, 16 chapter headings and an underlying structure. He suggests that the three texts have a "common ancestor" but underlines that there is no evidence that any one of these three texts might have been the "primitive Dharmapada" from which the other two evolved.

The Dhammapada is considered one of the most popular pieces of Theravada literature. A critical edition of the Dhammapada was produced by Danish scholar Viggo Fausbøll in 1855, becoming the first Pali text to receive this kind of examination by the European academic community.

Organization

The Pali Dhammapada contains 423 verses in 26 chapters (listed below in English and, in parentheses, Pali).



I. The Twin-Verses (Yamaka-vaggo) (see excerpt below)
II. On Earnestness (Appam da-vaggo)
III. Thought (Citta-vaggo)
IV. Flowers (Puppha-vaggo)
V. The Fool (B la-vaggo)
VI. The Wise Man (Pa ita-vaggo)
VII. The Venerable (Arahanta-vaggo)
VIII. The Thousands (Sahassa-vaggo)
IX. Evil (P pa-vaggo)
X. Punishment (Da a-vaggo) (see excerpt below)
XI. Old Age (Jar -vaggo)
XII. Self (Atta-vaggo)
XIII. The World (Loka-vaggo)
XIV. The Buddha — The Awakened (Buddha-vaggo) (see excerpt below)
XV. Happiness (Sukha-vaggo)
XVI. Pleasure (Piya-vaggo)
XVII. Anger (Kodha-vaggo)
XVIII. Impurity (Mala-vaggo)
XIX. The Just (Dhamma ha-vaggo)
XX. The Way (Magga-vaggo) (see excerpt below)
XXI. Miscellaneous (Paki aka-vaggo)
XXII. The Downward Course (Niraya-vaggo)
XXIII. The Elephant (N ga-vaggo)
XXIV. Thirst ( -vaggo) (see excerpt below)
XXV. The Mendicant (Bhikkhu-vaggo)
XXVI. The Brāhmana ( -vaggo)


Excerpts

The following English translations are from Müller (1881). The Pali text is from the Sri Lanka Tripitaka Project (SLTP) edition.

























































Ch. I. Twin Verses (Yamaka-vaggo)

1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage. Manopubba gamā dhammā manose hā manomayā

Manasā ce padu hena bhāsati vā karoti vā

Tato na  dukkhamanveti cakka 'va vahato pada .
2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. Manopubba gamā dhammā manose hā manomayā

Manasā ce pasannena bhāsati vā karoti vā

Tato na  sukhamanveti chāyā'va anapāyinī.
5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule. Na hi verena verāni sammantīdha kudācana

Averena ca sammanti esa dhammo sanantano.

Ch. X. Punishment (Da a-vaggo)

131. He who seeking his own happiness punishes or kills beings who also long for happiness, will not find happiness after death. Sukhakāmāni bhūtāni yoda ena vihi sati

Attano sukhamesāno pecca so na labhate sukha .
132. He who seeking his own happiness does not punish or kill beings who also long for happiness, will find happiness after death. Sukhakāmāni bhūtāni yoda ḍena na hi sati

Attano sukhamesāno pecca so labhate sukha .
133. Do not speak harshly to anybody; those who are spoken to will answer thee in the same way. Angry speech is painful, blows for blows will touch thee. Mā'voca pharusa  kañci vuttā pa ivadeyyu ta

Dukkhā hi sārambhakathā paṭida ā phuseyyu ta .

Chapter XII: Self (Atta-vaggo)

157. If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; during one at least out of the three watches a wise man should be watchful.
158. Let each man direct himself first to what is proper, then let him teach others; thus a wise man will not suffer.
159. If a man make himself as he teaches others to be, then, being himself well subdued, he may subdue (others); one's own self is indeed difficult to subdue.
160. Self is the lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well subdued, a man finds a lord such as few can find.
161. The evil done by oneself, self-begotten, self-bred, crushes the foolish, as a diamond breaks a precious stone.
162. He whose wickedness is very great brings himself down to that state where his enemy wishes him to be, as a creeper does with the tree which it surrounds.
163. Bad deeds, and deeds hurtful to ourselves, are easy to do; what is beneficial and good, that is very difficult to do.
164. The foolish man who scorns the rule of the venerable (Arahat), of the elect (Ariya), of the virtuous, and follows false doctrine, he bears fruit to his own destruction, like the fruits of the Katthaka reed.
165. By oneself the evil is done, by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone, by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one can purify another.
166. Let no one forget his own duty for the sake of another's, however great; let a man, after he has discerned his own duty, be always attentive to his duty.


Ch. XIV: The Buddha (The Awakened) (Buddha-vaggo)

183. Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one's mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened. Sabbapāpassa akara  kusalassa upasampadā

Sacittapariyodapana  buddhāna sāsana .

Ch. XX: The Way (Magga-vaggo)

276. You yourself must make an effort. The Tathagatas (Buddhas) are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of Mara. Tumhehi kicca  akkhātāro tathāgatā

Paṭipannā pamokkhanti jhāyino mārabandhanā.
277. 'All created things perish,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way to purity. Sabbe sa khārā aniccā'ti yadā paññāya passati

Atha nibbindati dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā.
278. 'All created things are grief and pain,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity. Sabbe sa khārā dukkhā'ti yadā paññāya passati

Atha nibbindati dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā.
279. 'All forms are unreal,' he who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity. Sabbe dhammā anattā'ti yadā paññāya passati

Atha nibbindati dukkhe esa maggo visuddhiyā.

Ch. XXIV: Thirst (Ta hā-vaggo)

343. Men, driven on by thirst, run about like a snared hare; let therefore the mendicant drive out thirst, by striving after passionlessness for himself. Tasi āya purakkhatā pajā parisappanti saso'va bādhito

Tasmā tasi  vinodaye bhikkhu āka khī virāgamattano.
350. If a man delights in quieting doubts, and, always reflecting, dwells on what is not delightful (the impurity of the body, &c.), he certainly will remove, nay, he will cut the fetter of Mara. Vitakkupasame ca yo rato asubha  bhāvayati sadā sato

Esa kho vyantikāhiti esa checchati mārabandhana .


Chapter XII: Self

157 If you hold yourself dear guard yourselfdiligently. Keep vigil during one of the threewatches of the night.

158 Learn what is right; then teach others asthe wise do.

159 Before trying to guide others, be your ownguide first. It is hard to learn to guide oneself.

160 Your own self is your master; who else couldbe? With your own self controlled, your gain amaster very hard to find.

161 The evil done by the selfish crushes them as a162 diamond breaks a hard gem. As a vine over-powers a tree, evil over-powers the evil doer,trapping him in a situation only his enemies163 would wish him to be in. Evil deeds, whichharm oneself, are easy to do; good deeds arenot so easy.

164 Foolish people who scoff at teachings ofthe wise, the noble, and the good, followingfalse doctrines bring about their own down-fall like the khattaka tree, which dies afterbearing fruit.

165 By oneself is evil done; by oneself one is in-jured. Do not do evil, and suffering will notcome. Everyone has the choice to be pure orimpure. No one can purify another.

166 Don’t neglect you own duty for another,however great. Know your own duty andperform it.

Translated by Eknath Easwaran

Literary Merits

The literary merits of the Dhammapada are a matter of disagreement. Pali scholar K.R. Norman notes that some readers have claimed that the Dhammapada is a "masterpiece of Indian literature", but that this assessment is not universally shared. John Brough, who wrote extensively on the subject of the related Gāndhārī Dharmapada, believed that the text had largely been composed from a patchwork of cliches, and that while it contained a few novel and well-constructed verses, suffered from an "accumulation of insipid mediocrity." While he believed that the Dhammapada did not warrant the high praised sometimes lavished upon it, Brough did note that it contained "small fragments of excellent poetry", and that the Dhammapada fared well when considered alongside other, similarly composite works. Several scholars have noted that much of the Dhammapada consists of vague moral aphorisms, many of them not clearly specific to Buddhism at all.

English translations

  • Tr F. Max Müller, in Buddhist Parables, by E. W. Burlinghame, 1869; reprinted in Sacred Books of the East, volume X, Clarendon/Oxford, 1881; reprinted in Buddhism, by Clarence Hamilton; reprinted separately by Watkins, 2006; reprinted 2008 by Red and Black Publishers, St Petersburg, Florida, ISBN 978-1-934941-03-4; the first English translation (a Latin translation by V. Fausböll had appeared in 1855)
  • Tr J. Gray, American Mission Press, Rangoon, 1881
  • Tr J. P. Cooke & O. G. Pettis, Boston (Massachusetts?), 1898
  • Hymns of Faith, tr Albert J. Edmunds, Open Court, Chicago, & Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., London, 1902
  • Tr Norton T. W. Hazeldine, Denver, Colorado, 1902
  • The Buddha's Way of Virtue, tr W. D. C. Wagiswara & K. J. Saunders, John Murray, London, 1912
  • Tr Silacara, Buddhist Society, London, 1915
  • Tr Suriyagoda Sumangala, in Ceylon Antiquary, 1915
  • Tr A. P. Buddhadatta, Colombo Apothecaries, 1920?
  • The Buddha's Path of Virtue, tr F. L. Woodward, Theosophical Publishing House, London & Madras, 1921
  • In Buddhist Legends, tr E. W. Burlinghame, Harvard Oriental Series, 1921, 3 volumes; reprinted by Pali Text Society[35767], Bristol; translation of the stories from the commentary, with the Dhammapada verses embedded
  • Tr R. D. Shrikhande and/or P. L. Vaidya (according to different bibliographies; or did one publisher issue two translations in the same year?), Oriental Book Agency, Poona, 1923; includes Pali text
  • "Verses on Dhamma", in Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon, volume I, tr C. A. F. Rhys Davids, 1931, Pali Text Society, Bristol; verse translation; includes Pali text
  • Tr N. K. Bhag(w?)at, Buddha Society, Bombay, 1931/5; includes Pali text
  • The Way of Truth, tr S. W. Wijayatilake, Madras, 1934
  • Tr Irving Babbitt, Oxford University Press, New York & London, 1936; revision of Max Müller
  • Tr K. Gunaratana, Penang, Malaya, 1937
  • The Path of the Eternal Law, tr Swami Premananda, Self-Realization Fellowship, Washington DC, 1942
  • Tr Dhammajoti, Maha Bodhi Society, Benares, 1944
  • Tr Jack Austin, Buddhist Society, London, 1945
  • Stories of Buddhist India, tr Piyadassi, 2 volumes, Moratuwa, Ceylon, 1949 & 1953; includes stories from the commentary
  • Tr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Oxford University Press, London, 1950; includes Pali text
  • Collection of Verses on the Doctrine of the Buddha, comp Bhadragaka, Bangkok, 1952
  • Tr T. Latter, Moulmein, Burma, 1950?
  • Tr W. Somalokatissa, Colombo, 1953
  • Tr Narada, John Murray, London, 1954
  • Tr E. W. Adikaram, Colombo, 1954
  • Tr A. P. Buddhadatta, Colombo, 1954; includes Pali text
  • Tr Siri Sivali, Colombo, 1954
  • Tr ?, Cunningham Press, Alhambra, California, 1955
  • Tr C. Kunhan Raja, Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar/Madras, 1956; includes Pali text
  • Free rendering and interpretation by Wesley La Violette, Los Angeles, 1956
  • Tr Buddharakkhita, Maha Bodhi Society, Bangalore, 1959; 4th edn, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1996; includes Pali text
  • Tr Suzanne Karpelès?, serialized in Advent (Pondicherry, India), 1960-65; reprinted in Questions and Answers, Collected Works of the Mother, 3, Pondicherry, 1977
  • Growing the Bodhi Tree in the Garden of the Heart, tr Khantipalo, Buddhist Association of Thailand, Bangkok, 1966; reprinted as The Path of Truth, Bangkok, 1977
  • Tr P. Lal, New York, 1967/70
  • Tr Juan Mascaró, Penguin Classics, 1973
  • Tr Thomas Byrom, Shambhala, Boston, Massachusetts, & Wildwood House, London, 1976 (ISBN 0-87773-966-8)
  • Tr Ananda Maitreya, serialized in Pali Buddhist Review, 1 & 2, 1976/7; offprinted under the title Law Verses, Colombo, 1978; revised by Rose Kramer (under the Pali title), originally published by Lotsawa Publications in 1988, reprinted by Parallax Press in 1995
  • The Buddha's Words, tr Sathienpong Wannapok, Bangkok, 1979
  • Wisdom of the Buddha, tr Harischandra Kaviratna, Pasadena, 1980; includes Pali text
  • The Eternal Message of Lord Buddha, tr Silananda, Calcutta, 1982; includes Pali text
  • Tr Chhi Med Rig Dzin Lama, Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India, 1982; tr from the modern Tibetan translation by dGe-'dun Chos-'phel; includes Pali & Tibetan texts
  • Tr & pub Dharma Publishing, Berkeley, California, 1985; tr from the modern Tibetan translation by dGe-'dun Chos-'phel
  • Commentary, with text embedded, tr Department of Pali, University of Rangoon, published by Union Buddha Sasana Council, Rangoon (date uncertain; 1980s)
  • Tr Daw Mya Tin, Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, 1986; probably currently published by the Department for the Promotion and Propagation of the Sasana, Rangoon, and/or Sri Satguru, Delhi
  • Path of Righteousness, tr David J. Kalupahana, Universities Press of America, Lanham, Maryland, c. 1986
  • Tr Raghavan Iyer, Santa Barbara, 1986; includes Pali text
  • Tr Eknath Easwaran, Arkana, London, 1986/7(ISBN 978-1-58638-019-9); reissued with new material Nilgiri Press 2007, Tomales, CA (ISBN 9781586380205)
  • Tr John Ross Carter & Mahinda Palihawadana, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987; the original hardback edition also includes the Pali text and the commentary's explanations of the verses; the paperback reprint in the World's Classics Series omits these
  • Tr U. D. Jayasekera, Colombo, 1992
  • Treasury of Truth, tr Weragoda Sarada, Taipei, 1993
  • Tr Thomas Cleary, Thorsons, London, 1995
  • The Word of the Doctrine, tr K. R. Norman, 1997, Pali Text Society, Bristol; the PTS's preferred translation
  • Tr Anne Bancroft?, Element Books, Shaftesbury, Dorset, & Richport, Massachusetts, 1997
  • Tr F. Max Müller (see above), revised Jack Maguire, SkyLight Pubns, Woodstock, Vermont, 2002
  • Tr Glenn Wallis, Modern Library, New York, 2004 (ISBN 0-679-64397-9)
  • Tr Gil Fronsdal, Shambhala, Boston, Massachusetts, 2005 (ISBN 1-59030-380-6)
  • Tr Bhikkhu Varado, Inward Path, Malaysia, 2007; Dhammapada in English Verse


See also online translations listed below.

Notes



Sources

  • Ānandajoti Bhikkhu (2007). A Comparative Edition of the Dhammapada. U. of Peradeniyamarker. Retrieved 25 Nov 2008 from "Ancient Buddhist Texts" at http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/Buddhist-Texts/C3-Comparative-Dhammapada/index.htm.
  • Brough, John (2001). The Gāndhārī Dharmapada. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.
  • Buswell, Robert E. (ed.) (2003). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. MacMillan Reference Books. ISBN 978-0028657189.
  • Cone, Margaret (transcriber) (1989). "Patna Dharmapada" in the Journal of the Pali Text Society (Vol. XIII), pp. 101–217. Oxford: PTS. Retrieved 06-15-2008 from "Ancient Buddhist Texts" at http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/Buddhist-Texts/C5-Patna/index.htm. [On-line text interspersed with Pali parallels compiled by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu (2007).]
  • Fronsdal, Gil (2005). The Dhammapada. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 1-59030-380-6.
  • Geiger, Wilhelm (trans. by Batakrishna Ghosh) (1943, 2004). Pāli Literature and Language. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 81-215-0716-2.
  • Harvey, Peter (1990, 2007). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31333-3.
  • Hinüber, Oskar von (2000). A Handbook of Pāli Literature. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-016738-7.
  • Law, Bimala Churn (1930). A Study of the Mahāvastu. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co. Retrieved 26 Nov 2008 from "Archive.org" at http://ia331310.us.archive.org/flipbook/flipbook.php?identifier=studyofthemahava031355mbp&datapath=/3/items/studyofthemahava031355mbp&dataserver=ia331310.us.archive.org.
  • Müller, F. Max (1881). The Dhammapada (Sacred Books Of The East, Vol. X). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-04-02 from "WikiSource" at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Dhammapada_(Muller).
  • Ñā amoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) & Bhikkhu Bodhi (ed.) (2001). The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-072-X.
  • Rhys Davids, T.W. & William Stede (eds.) (1921-5). The Pali Text Society’s Pali–English Dictionary. Chipstead: Pali Text Society. A general on-line search engine for the PED is available from "U. Chicago" at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/.


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